First-ever Automotive Heritage Celebration at National Mall

(May 1, 2014) WASHINGTON — The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) has announced that it is partnering with Volkswagen Group of America Inc. to celebrate national automotive heritage and culture. An event at the National Mall will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4.

The event is designed to raise public awareness and engagement in the preservation of our automotive heritage. Specifically, the HVA plans to recognize the 1964 Meyers Manx as the next automobile to be recorded under the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Heritage Documentation.

The documentation will be part of the HVA's National Historic Vehicle Register and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) that is permanently archived in the Library of Congress.

In addition, the HVA plans to exhibit 10 automobiles, one per decade from the 1890s to the 1980s, that are eligible and beginning the process to be documented for the HAER program. The exhibited vehicles include: 1895 Benton Harbor; 1909 Washington Model A-1; 1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 51 Presidential Limousine; 1926 Duesenberg Model A; 1933 Graham 8 Sedan "Blue Streak"; 1947 Tucker '48 "Tin Goose"; 1952 Hudson Hornet Club Coupe; 1964 Studebaker Avanti; 1976 CitiCar; and 1981 De Lorean DMC-12.

The event, open to the public, kicks off on Saturday with a cars and coffee gathering at the National Mall (Madison Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets) from 6:30am–9:30am. Formal remarks begin at 9:00am with a presentation of the 1964 Meyers Manx "Old Red" and conclude with the National Automotive Heritage Stewardship Awards. Special exhibits, educational displays, guided tours and demonstrations will be presented throughout the rest of the two-day Cars at the Capital event. For more information click here.   

"Today represents another major step in the HVA mission to document significant historic vehicles and related artifacts as a lasting record of our culture," said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association. "The HVA was founded to ensure that our automotive heritage is more broadly appreciated and carefully preserved for future generations. The National Mall is an ideal venue to help us educate the public about this important endeavor."

"The Cars at the Capital gathering provides an opportunity to view automotive heritage live and in person," said Richard O'Connor, chief, Heritage Documentation Programs, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. "We support HVA's efforts to make this rich history available to the public."

The 1964 Meyers Manx "dune buggy" known as "Old Red" is recognized as the first fiberglass dune buggy. This vehicle introduced fun, lightweight and trendsetting design and sparked an American interest in beach culture and off-road racing. The Meyers Manx is likely the most copied vehicle design, with Meyers building 7,000 units and copiers producing 250,000.

"Dune buggies have a message: fun. They're playful to drive and should look like it. Nothing did that at the time," said Bruce Meyers, Owner. "Having Old Red recognized as the second vehicle to achieve national heritage status is a great honor and fitting 50th anniversary present."

The HVA will also focus its efforts on documenting the 10 vehicles that will be on display at the Cars at the Capital gathering and continue to work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to support future public submissions. The documentation process includes: (i) a fully referenced narrative and description of the vehicle; (ii) technical drawings of important elements of the vehicle; and (iii) detailed photographs and film negatives for permanent archival in the Library of Congress. These standards for documentation involve the same level of care that has been used to record the Statue of Liberty and the Space Shuttle. Both domestic and foreign vehicles are considered provided they have significant American history.

During the two-day event, the HVA will photograph and scan these 10 vehicles while on stationary display. This "heritage documentation at work" display will provide the public with the chance to view firsthand how several of America's automotive treasures are being documented.

"Working together with the Historic Vehicle Association will hopefully encourage other people and organizations to join the cause of protecting our national automotive treasures," said David Geanacopoulos, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Volkswagen Group of America Inc. "Our partnership with the Historic Vehicle Association provides Volkswagen with the opportunity to connect with the many VW fans in the U.S. and also demonstrates our support for preserving America's automotive heritage."